Brendon McCullum discusses England’s T20 stars’ chances of making the Test team

Brendon McCullum discusses England’s T20 stars’ chances of making the Test team

Brendon McCullum discusses England’s T20 stars’ chances of making the Test team
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Brendon McCullum has hinted that he may attempt to reintegrate a number of England’s white-ball stars into the Test team, listing Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid, and Liam Livingstone as players who could be part of his plans in the future.

On Friday, McCullum was introduced as England’s new Test coach at Lord’s, where he spoke at length about his plans to revitalize the squad. Despite the fact that the squad picked for the first Test against New Zealand next week included a number of cautious choices, McCullum intimated that he was interested in speaking with a number of players who have had more success for England in the limited-overs forms.

Buttler had a dreadful Ashes tour to Australia as the Test wicketkeeper, but he has recovered his form in the IPL, where he is the competition’s leading run-scorer. Moeen Ali, who retired from Test cricket last year, and the uncapped Livingstone both had successful IPL seasons; Rashid has not played a Test since the Caribbean tour in 2018-19, citing a wish to stay fresh for white-ball cricket.

“Jos is one of those players you look at instantly and think how could he be so dominant in one form of the game and not quite have found his feet, other than a few fleeting performances, in Test cricket?” McCullum said.

“There are certain guys you look at and think there’s a lot of talent that could improve the side given the right opportunity. There’s no reason why, if you’re good at T20, you can’t bring those skills into Test cricket and you look at some of the guys who have dominated the IPL in the last two months. It’s just a matter of trying to identify how they’re going to do that.”

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On the question of whether Moeen would be open to a Test return, McCullum said: “We’ll see. I’m sure if Mo wanted to, and was prepared to put the yards in to make it back into the side, then he’d challenge, no doubt.” The Daily Mail subsequently reported that Moeen had spoken to McCullum and was ready to make a comeback in whites.

“I’m not sure someone like Adil would play every game every year anyway,” McCullum added. “But my mentality is, if they’re the best cricketers, why not have the conversation and see where you get to?”

Livingstone was previously picked for the Test squad on the 2018 tour of New Zealand but has since made his name on the global T20 circuit. He scored England’s fastest T20I hundred, from 42 balls, against Pakistan last summer and was a member of the team that got to the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup. At this year’s IPL, he had the highest strike rate of anyone to score 400 runs.

“Again, a conversation needs to be had about what his appetite for Test cricket is,” McCullum said. “If he is keen on playing, then how does he see himself getting into the side?

“Just because you’re a good cricketer, it doesn’t mean you automatically get selected. You’ve still got to earn the right to be able to do so. I don’t have any preconceived thoughts about whether he’s good enough or not good enough. I just look at him and think he’s a very good cricketer, and think it’s worth having a conversation.

“Obviously, you’ve got Livingstone, Moeen, and Rashid.” All of these players have experience playing international cricket and have had success in other sports, so you’d think they’d be able to make the move.

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“When I look at them, I believe there will come a day when they will be given an opportunity if they put in enough effort.” There’s certainly been some hurt for those guys as well, since they’ve been in and out of the team at different points, and there hasn’t been that consistency for them.”

 

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